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Trip Report Back from lovely Costa Rica

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Day 1 - Saturday

Woke up in NYC to snow (first of the season), but flight status was on time. Uneventful trip to Newark, boarded the plane as scheduled…then, after 3 rounds of de-icing, a return visit to the gate and a 5 hour delay in total, we were off. During the delay I contacted our driver (sent both text and email), Wilson Rojas (wilson_elsy@yahoo.com), just to make sure he was aware of the delay, and asked him to contact our hotel (Lost Iguana) to let them know we’ll be late arrivals.

Finally landed in CR. Met Wilson, and off we went. He provided us with a cooler of beer and soft drinks, as well as some snacks (those lime/salt plantain chips are addictive!). We asked him to make a stop so we could get something ‘to go’, for dinner. He stopped at a place called Mario’s in San Ramon. It was excellent. We didn’t want to get too adventurous (it was late, we were tired), so I ordered the BBQ chicken (actually a grilled chicken breast) and my DH had the chicken quesadilla. Both were very good, and the portions, quite large.

We arrived at Lost Iguana at 11pm. Luckily Wilson did call them. Their reception area closes at 10, so our keys were left with security. Wilson, and a security guard, took us to our room. It was very comfortable, and we both looked forward to a good night’s sleep so we could hit the ground running on Sunday.

Note: We booked Lost Iguana with a Groupon deal. I never used Groupon for anything, but heard about this deal in this forum. I checked with Lost Iguana to confirm the deal and our dates, and went with it. We paid $145/night (the regular place was around $250). Even at $250 though, it would have been worth it!

Day 2 – Sunday

Woke up to sounds like I’ve never heard before. So many birds! And the view, the Arenal Volcano in the distance, and greenery everywhere, just delightful and very relaxing. Officially checked in and arranged for cab to La Fortuna waterfalls for after breakfast. The Lost Iguana breakfast was good, eggs/omelets to order, fruit, toast, potatoes or plaintains, rice, beans, juice, and pancakes or French toast. The big disappointment – coffee of all things. Weak compared to what we’re used to (we like our coffee strong).

There is a bird feeder just outside the restaurant. Lots of birds visited, including 2 yellow throated toucans. This actually turned out to be a daily pattern. As we learned, many of these animals have certain patterns of behavior that are repeated regularly.

Our Cab driver, German (pronounced Herman) showed up on time (these are punctual people in general, always on time). He took us to the waterfalls and we arranged for him to pick us up as well. All the drivers give you their card, so you can call for a ride if need be at any time. You can walk to the falls from town, but the road and scenery, not appealing, very gravely, and uphill with nothing of interest around. We didn’t swim at the base of the falls, because we were carrying lots of things (we had a long day planned) and didn’t want to leave them unattended, although lots of people were. We actually finished the roundtrip a lot quicker than anticipated and called German to come earlier than originally planned. The hike back up, was not too bad at all, in fact, it took no more time then the hike down.

German picked us up and took us into town. We arranged for him to pick up at a designated time and place in town, for Eco-Termales later that evening. In the meantime, we walked around town, checked out some of the shops, stopped to pick up some snacks for the room and had lunch at Lava Rocks (which was perfectly adequate, but nothing special).

We had plans to meet up with Geovani Bogarin (recommended by Wilson) at My Coffee, for a tour of a private reserve he oversees. After lunch and walking around town, we went to My Coffee and ordered the “tipico” coffee, where they have this wood stand with a cloth drip setup (and is sold in many of the souvenir shops). Again, a little disappointed with the coffee, maybe we should have just gone with the espresso. Geovani showed up on time, and we took a short cab ride to the reserve. This was a great little tour, interesting and educational. He brings along a telescope, so he can show us things we would have never otherwise even noticed. This man is so dedicated to nature. He oversees this reserve, spending much of his time in a tree house there. He’s written up in this blog: http://fortunaguide.blogspot.com/ and also in the NYTimes (link is in the blog). Wilson arranged this for us. It was only $15pp. He can be contacted directly, (506) 8626-9348.

Toward the end, we once again contacted German, and asked him to pick us up at the reserve instead of in town. He then took us to Eco-Termales (natural hot springs), and once again, we arranged to have him pick us up. The springs were relaxing, and the frozen Margaritas, good, but was it worth it? I’d say NO at $51pp including dinner. Dinner was not good. I had the chicken and DH had the fish. The salad was nice, but it was downhill from there. Fish didn’t seem fresh and chicken was swimming in some creamy sauce which was not my cup of tea. Dessert was rice pudding and inedible. We would have been just as happy having cocktails in the hot-tub at Lost Iguana, and dinner elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, we did have a pleasant time there, but just didn’t see the value, and I would definitely not recommend the meal option.

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